Purchased from: Guitar center
Sound — 9
I've only had this guitar for a few weeks and haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do. It has standard 1/4 analog output and also XLR balance output and I have it plugged into a Line 6 POD XT Live and Vox DA 20 for electric and A Phonics POD 620 PA for acoustic. For blues, classic rock, and acoustic it's just outstanding right out of the box. Nails Chuck Berry and Stevie Ray with very little adjusting. A good Metal tone takes some work. As A modeling guitar I can't really say how close it is to the actual models it's suppose to emulate as I haven't played any of them, but I will say it will run with any $500 guitar on the rack and the tone is just as good as the lower end Gibson Les Paul's I've played. Acoustic, hollow body, pick your flavor and this thing jumps right in. The acoustic models do sound "plugged" so don't expect a completely natural acoustic tone, but if your used to acoustic/electric you'll like this. The 3 settings I really love are the Gibson ES 335, Danelectro 3012, and the Guild F212. That right there was worth it to me. The Strat setting sounds better then my buddies MIM Strat with texmex pickups, but I'm not around any other strats to compare. He also has a Tele (not sure what pickup) and it sounds real close to that as well. The only real disappointmet was the banjo. It tries, but it just isn't really that good. But this guitar does everything else it says it does really well and being able to go from amp to PA with the included a/b switch is really sweet. The a/b switch also powers the guitar so you don't need batteries.
Overall Impression — 10
I prefer to play metal and classic rock, but most of my friends are into blues and honestly my Dean isn't suited for Blues, so I needed a guitar that would fit more into that style. It can't touch My Dean for arena rock type stuff, but for blues and classic rock I like the tone a lot better then the Dean. Right Tool for the It's still hard to believe I actually own something this cool. I've read review where they say it sounds sterile or it's not this or that, but I have to disagree. If you have it hooked up properly and there are no other issues this is an outstanding innovation in guitar. If I have to say one thing I hate about it, it's the fact that I'm probably going to have to learn how to be a sound guy to figure the whole thing out. But that's not really a downside if your searching for tone, this just does it differently. I like this guitar. I'd buy it again. The only thing I wish it had was a selector Switch to change tunings across the entire range of models. It's still the best bang for the buck I've ever seen.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar itself I have no question that it will last as long as any other guitar that's handled properly. The electronics will always be a question. I've gotten years of use out of several computers I've owned so if it's like that I don't have a problem with it. Only time will tell however. I've only gigged twice (not with the Variax), but in all honestly if I started to do it all the time I'd never go on stage without a backup. I don't care what guitar it is. Other then that this thing appears to be pretty solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I am pleased with the guitar itself. If this was a regular guitar I'd put it's quality and fit and finish in the $800 to $1000 range. It's not highend, but nice for the price. No nicks, or scratch or any defects at all. The shape of the body is very comfortable. This is probably the most comfortable I've ever held. And the neck was another thing that feels great. I have a Dean that I also like the neck on (very fast), but I kind of like this one better. The 10" radius is better on my hand (makes me wonder what a 12" is like). I give this a 9 because it's not as nice as the Dean HardTail I was looking at for the same price, but to be fair the Dean doesn't have all the electronics in it either which I'm sure offset the guitar price a bit.
Features — 10
This review is for the Variax 700 electric tremolo Made in japan 2007 The body is carved Ash over mahogany with a 10" radius maple neck (22 medium frets) and rosewood fret board. The bridge is an L R Bags Tremelo and the tuners are Gotoh. A selector switch for all the model styles and a volume and tone control and a 5-way selector switch.